Australia’s newspaper Herald Sun has apologised to Tingo Education and Kasun Gamlath on Monday (28 February) for its 29 October 2020 exposé on a visa scam involving Sri Lanka club cricketers and a person named Sammy Kandage based in Melbourne.
“The Herald Sun wishes to make it clear that Mr. Gamlath is not associated in any way with Mr. Kandage and there is no suggestion that Tingo or Mr. Gamlath had any knowledge or involvement in Mr. Kandage’s scam,” said the report by Herald Sun.
Reports had emerged in October 2020 that “dodgy agents” were demanding thousands of dollars from overseas players to help them secure visas while allegedly doctoring players’ profiles so they can gain entry to Australia.
“A Herald Sun special investigation has revealed that overseas players have been asked to hand over up to AUD 10,000 (Rs. 1.29 million then) to Australian agents as payment to help (them) obtain visas and places in suburban cricket teams in Victoria, amid allegations that player profiles overseas are being doctored to aid entry,” revealed Herald Sun on 29 October 2020.
The Sunday Morning on 1 November 2020 reported thus: “A Sri Lankan player has told Herald Sun that he had played just one first-class game in Sri Lanka before scoring a sports visa to play cricket in Victoria through an agent named Saman Kandage, aka “Sammy”, who is running an organisation named “SK Sports”.
“He handed over AUD 10,000 on arrival at the Melbourne Airport late last year and was then provided with accommodation through Kandage in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home with 16 other people. He described the living conditions as ‘like a refugee camp’ and at times he feared for his life,” he said.
“Kandage had brought about 70 young Sri Lankan cricketers to Victoria during the last season alone. Another Sri Lankan cricketer has said many players were linked up with Tingo Education Australia, which has headquarters in Colombo, Matara, Galle, and Kandy. It is allegedly operated by a person called Kasun Gamlath,” the report revealed.